D. D. Palmer
RACHITIS OR RICKETS
Rachitis, plural rachises, is a Greek word meaning
The origin of the word rickets is uncertain.
It means to twist, to sprain.
Rachitis is an inflammatory disease of the vertebral
column. This is an interesting and instructive condition for chiropractors
Medical dictionaries, pathological and orthopedic
works describe definitely the malformation of the bones, degeneration of
the organs, general feverishness and abnormal functionating.
Rachitis or rickets is a disease of early childhood
characterized by defective nutrition of the entire body and alterations
in the growing bones. The prominent symptoms are restlessness, fever,
profuse sweating, and general sensitiveness, associated with characteristic
skeletal lesions. The head becomes bulky, the spinal column curved,
the sternum projected, and the long bones bent.
Physicians and surgeons are not decided as to the
cause or causes. They have many and varied speculative opinions.
When it becomes generally known that heat is a function
of nerves, chiropractic beams of enlightment will revolutionize the practice
of medicine and make visible that which is now obscure. A natural
insight of your teacher, untrammeled by superstition or education, assisted
by revelation and an investigation from a chiropractic viewpoint has enabled
him to throw an illuminating light on the etiology of this heretofore mysterious
In the Adjuster, on pages 237 to 255, is given a
full description by many authors of this “constitutional and nutritive
It is my desire to make you and the world acquainted
with the etiology of this well-known disease, characterized by disorders
of the digestive system and alterations in the shape and structure of bones.
Osteomalacia and rickets are similar in some respects
and yet quite dissimilar in others.
Rachitis is a diseasse of childhood, osteomalacia
(softening of bones) is of adult life. The former is present while
bones are being constructed, while the latter is only found after bones
The structure of all tissue, more especially that
of nerves, is modified as age advances. The same pressure upon, or
tension of the same nerves at different ages produce quite different effects,
which are classed as different diseases. No two of us look alike,
no two have nerves of the same quality in health, while in disease these
differences are augmented. The primary and secondary qualities of
the nervous system differ in individuals regarding their size, figure,
number, situation, molecular action, and more especially in intellectual
perception, the quality and character of which is formed by contact with
the five senses of consciousness.
The structure and composition of bones undergo a
change as age advances. Those of a child are composed of three parts
gelatine and one part phosphate of lime, bone matter; in old age the proportion
is reversed, one part gelatine to three parts of bone material. Herein
is the reason why the bones of the aged do not knit so readily when fractured
as in those of younger years.
Hyperthermia, excessive heat, temperature above normal,
creates a larger per cent of the red corpuscles and a corresponding inadequate
number of the white corpuscles. This increase of the erythrocytes
and the lessening of leukocytes has a tendency to soften all tissue, more
noticeably bones and nerves.
The solid portion of the body is about one-tenth
of the whole. The normal per cent of the red and white corpuscles
are variously given as 300 to 600 of the red to one of the white.
The color of the blood is from the preponderance of the red corpuscles.
The corpuscles are the solid portion of the blood and constitute about
one-third to one-half of the blood. In anemia the number of the red
may be reduced to one-tenth of the usual number. In fever there is
an increase of the colored and a lessening of the colorless corpuscles;
during convalescence this order is reversed. In the healing of wounds and
fractures the temperature of the body is physiologically increased in order
to produce plastic material, which is cartilage-like, known as callus,
the osseous substance deposited in and around the divided portions of a
fractured bone. A portion of this callus becomes permanent and is
changed into true bone, the temporary or provisional callus, is used as
a splint to keep the ends of the bones in opposition; when the union is
complete it is removed by absorption. Poisons change the relative
per cent of the red and white corpuscles, whether more or less depends
upon the increase or decrease of organic function. Poisons affect nerves,
cause a greater or lessened tension, raise or lower the temperature, modify
the per cent of red and white corpuscles. The pus cells of an abscess
consist of dead white corpuscles. Excess of heat makes it unfavorable
for their existence and favorable for the red.
Scurvy and rachitis may be associated. A pathologist
says, “We know nothing concerning the pathogenesis of scurvy.”
In all diseases wherein a high temperature was maintained
before death, the bones and marrow will be found of a reddish color, owing
to an excess of the red corpuscles and a corresponding deficiency of the
white. If the temperature falls below normal, remaining so for a
time, there will be an excess of the leukocytes and a lessening of the
A very high temperature causes an increase in the
vascular circulation and an increased tension of the nervi vasorum (nerves
distributed to the walls of blood vessels) in the perivascular (around)
Varying degrees of temperature represent a corresponding
rate of molecular oscillation, a greater or less vibration of atoms.
Substances known as poison are noxious because of
their exciting or depressing effects on the nervous system and their adaptation
to modify functions; for this reason and for such a purpose physicians
Any ingesta which causes abnormal functionating is
a poison. The continued use of one article of food may act as a poison
upon the nervous system in a like manner (a lack of rest, a continued strain)
as does auto-suggestion in hysteria, insanity and neurasthenic affections.
Auto-suggestion may relax nerves, or act as a tensor.
The heat condition of caries and rachitis are different
in that the former is local, while the latter is diffused. In necrosis
and caries the heat is circumscribed, in the latter it is dispersed.
Why not learn to make the distinction between the
diseased conditions arising from the tight, rigid, strained nerves of the
third cervical and those of the twelfth dorsal?
In bone softening without disintegration, the general
diffusion of heat is due to hypertension of the twelfth pair of dorsal
nerves, the second center place. In necrosis and caries the heat
is localized because of tension on other nerves than those of the twelfth
dorsal, which may be determined by the area affected. Caries, necrosis,
rachitis and osteomalacia are due to the function of heat being performed
in excess, because of the displacement of some portion of the neuroskeleton.
All rachitic conditions are because of displacement of the
twelfth dorsal vertebra; this is an established fact: then, why not replace
it, thereby restoring those nerves to normal tension; tension depending upon
the position of the bones of the neuroskeleton. It takes time to create
abnormal curvatures, misshapen vertebrae -- it will take time to reshapen them
back to normal; this may be accomplished by proper daily adjusting.
Stover’s case of ichthyosis congenita, dry scaly tetter,
a skin disease, a squamous scale-like covering from the sebaceous glands, which
disappeared in summer and re-appeared in winter, covered the posterior portions
of the forearms and the dorsal region of the back, also, pyorrhea alveolaris,
inflammation of the alveolar periosteum, looseness of the teeth, shrinkage and
suppuration of the gums, cancer of the tongue and supposed consumption were
relieved by adjusting the twelfth dorsal for the former two diseases and the
fifth dorsal for the latter two conditions.